Saying Goodbye to My Earliest Friend, Randy Miller
I’m sitting in the Orlando Airport Southwest terminal and thinking about Randy Miller. Randy passed away in June, and the last thing on this trip I had to do was to join his family and some of his friends at the lovely Veteran’s Memorial near the bridge over the Intercoastal waterway in Vero Beach. It was a perfect soft night, and the service began with a minister’s words about Jesus and then there were time for remarks. I always get a little nervous when this part of a funeral service comes because people are often scared to speak up, or didn’t know the man well enough to say anything. I had no reason to fear because the man’s friends would speak up for him well tonight.
I was flanked by four men who did have something to say about their dear friend Randy, and the words and the tears flowed. Brodie, Reed, Lars and Michael all had different memories but the same fondness for Randy, who was one of the livest wires I’ve ever known.
We spoke about his exhuberance, and zest for life, the mountains he climbed, the rivers he paddled, and the non-stop traveling and moving that made up his life. Randy lived in dozens of different places, he was a wandering jewelry salesman, and the day he died at 49 he was just about to pack up and move again, this time to take his hot tub business to Asheville NC.
I wrote some thoughts and shared the memories of my earliest days of playing with dogs, listening to corny music, and of how Randy joined me at my first job pumping gas in Blawenburg. Like many of the gathered friends, I hadn’t see him in a decade, and it made me sad to have missed a long part of his short life.
The Miller family was clearly moved by our words and grateful that we had come. I said that Randy was now in that big hot tub in the sky, and on his last and final journey. I bid my oldest friend bon voyage, and teared up thinking that I’d never see him again.